Letters From the Labyrinth 356
In Which Many Big Things Happen
Maybe you’ve glimpsed it in dreams, because that is the only way our minds can perceive it — the outlines of hallways and doors that make up the connective tissue of reality itself. The Atlanteans knew what it really was, as did the Magi of old; the original founders of the White and Black Lodges. Solomon, Dee, Crowley, and other occultists throughout history wrote about it, and studied its possibilities. These days, it is found in graffiti, and in the incoherent mumblings of madmen, and in certain DARPA experiments, and in little known corners of the internet. It is the string in string theory, the neurons in our brains, the chemical bonds between the atoms, dark matter, and a maze. It is the Labyrinth… and it has now begun to splinter.
Good morning. I’m Brian Keene and this is the 356th issue of Letters From the Labyrinth — a weekly newsletter for fans, friends, and family.
The autographed, limited edition collector’s hardcover of SPLINTERED: THE LABYRINTH Book 3 is up for preorder from Thunderstorm Books. The cost is $110. We expect them to go fast, so if you want one, reserve your copy here.
The most thrilling, terrifying, fast-paced installment yet in bestselling author Brian Keene’s critically acclaimed The Labyrinth series!
All is lost in the aftermath of the Seven’s confrontation with Leviathan and Nodens. Frankie, Bloom, and Lucifer are missing and feared dead. Tony is in ancient Rome. The Exit is imprisoned outside of space and time. Teddy, LeHorn, and Sarah are on a quick excursion to Teddy’s hometown, where both old friends and older enemies await. The remaining Thirteen are on the offensive, Heaven and Hell are mustering for war, the Labyrinth is damaged, the splintering of reality has begun, and the universe’s last remaining hope may be… Ob, Lord of the Siqqusim?
SPLINTERED: THE LABYRINTH Book 3 — The End continues, and this is the last dance…
It is my hope that paperback and eBook editions of the novel should also be on sale in time for the December holidays (as were the first two volumes in the series). However, I’m not going to rush production, so it’s possible we may creep into January 2024 for the actual release date. too early to say yet.
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At the respective ages of fifty-six and forty (mumbles incoherently), Mary and I are actively planning for our golden years. We’ve seen too many of our peers struggling to write in their later years, and dependent upon those advances and royalties from book sales. It's a sobering and frightening prospect, and we'd like a different future, with a second revenue stream so that we can continue to write in our old age. We also want to do something to give back to our peers and our community, both on a national and local level. So… inspired by Dark Delicacies, Butcher Cabin Books, The Poisoned Pen, Bucket O' Blood, Mysterious Galaxy, and other indie bookshops, we are opening an independent bookstore specializing in Horror, Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Bizarro, and other speculative fiction genres.
VORTEX BOOKS & COMICS will open Spring of 2024 in the historic district of beautiful Columbia, Pennsylvania -- easily and quickly accessible from Baltimore, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Allentown, New York City, Washington D.C. and more. We'll carry a full complement of books from the Big Five, as well as hundreds of books from many cool indie publishers and small presses, titles in Espanol and other languages, clothing, original art, and more. We'll host weekly signings, readings, workshops, and other events. We know this business, and are intimately familiar with its ups and downs, ebbs and flows. Our goal is to make the store a destination. As our record for the last 30 years shows, we believe that Horror fiction is for everyone, and Vortex will echo that. All are welcome, and all will have a place on our shelves.
We have already invested a significant sum of our savings into this endeavor. It was suggested to us by several knowledgable mentors that we should give the community an opportunity to chip in and help. If you would like to show your solidarity and support with a donation via GoFundMe, it will be put toward further set-up costs such as fixtures, security, inventory, marketing and advertising, signage, etc. thus giving us a bit of breathing room and time to make the store profitable. However, you are under no obligation to donate. We appreciate your support regardless.
Thanks for reading us these last thirty years, and allowing us both a place at the table. We are very excited for this next chapter of our story, and giving back to our peers and fans in an all-new way.
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Kit Power continues his book-by-book journey through my Labyrinth Mythos. This month, he’s discussing CLICKERS III by myself and J. F. Gonzalez. Read more here.
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The Hard Word interviewed Christopher Golden and I about THE DRIVE-IN: MULTIPLEX. You can read it for free here. It will probably give you some insight into our editorial process for the forthcoming THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT: TALES OF STEPHEN KING’S THE STAND.
(Boy, that’s a long title, isn’t it? I wanted to call the book CAPTAIN TRIPS, but people with marketing degrees overruled me).
THE DRIVE-IN: MULTIPLEX (which was a title I came up with and didn’t get overruled on) is available in paperback directly from the publisher. Dig the line-up!
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This past week marked the ninth anniversary of the passing of J. F. Gonzalez. I wrote about my feelings on that over on Patreon.
I've spent the last nine years making sure he won't be forgotten. Indeed, some have said that I’ve focused on his stuff more than my own, and looking at some of the deadlines I’ve blown in the last few years, I suppose there’s some truth to that. But with the publication of Survivor, there’s only one novel left to reprint (Conversion). Then it will just be a handful of collections and some partial manuscripts that will be completed by others. I’ve made sure that readers will still be discussing his works and his legacy ninety years from now. That's the only kind of provable immortality a writer can experience, and it was important that he have that.
But I personally believe that consciousness and energy transcend these mortal forms, and I believe that I will see him again. That hotel convention bar that I wrote about in the final chapter of END OF THE ROAD is getting quite full with our friends these days, and there are two more friends who I fear may join him before long, but I know that he has saved me a seat and already ordered me a drink.
If you would like to honor my friend, or take a look at what I’ve been up to these last nine years, here is a complete list of all of Jesus’s works that are currently in print and on sale.
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Currently Playing: Clash of Clans
Currently Listening: “Roll Call” by M.J. Withers
Currently Watching: Ash vs Evil Dead season 3 (Hulu), Survivor season 45 (Paramount Plus), Family Guy season 22 (Hulu), Suitable Flesh (Prime), and The New Barbarians, Trading Places and Dawn of the Dead (remake) all on DVD.
Currently Reading: The Devil Thinks I’m Pretty by Charlene Elsby and Cold, Black & Infinite by Todd Keisling.
“Roll Call” by my pal, Baltimore’s own M.J. Withers, pretty much got me through the highs and lows of this past week, and kept me even and focused and fighting. You can listen to it for free here.
The 3rd season of Ash vs. Evil Dead kind of fell apart, didn’t it? Felt like the showrunner dropped the ball, with a meandering, rudderless writer’s room. Way too many conveniences, faulty interior logic, and plot holes big enough to drive a 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale through. But it redeemed itself with that finale, I suppose.
I enjoyed Suitable Flesh. Was particularly cool to see my pals Johnathon Schaech and Barbara Crampton on screen together. I did, however, feel Stuart Gordon’s absence throughout. That’s not the fault of the filmmakers or anybody else. That’s my own hang-up, as a Stuart Gordon fan. (Which, by the way, if you’ve never seen his absolutely finest film — King of the Ants — you need to fix that today). But getting back to Suitable Flesh, it’s a great film, and I loved seeing Barbara kick ass in the finale. Imagine an alternate reality where Barbara got the role of Ripley in Alien, and then imagine her whooping that queen mother in Aliens.
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So, with the bookstore announcement, there’s only one final surprise left for this year. It’s currently codenamed OPERATION SOFT STEP (Joe and Keith lansdale know why) and should be revealed very soon…
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And that does it for this week. Thanks, as always, for reading. I appreciate all of you, and I’ll see you back here next Sunday.